Daniel Hakim is the founder and CEO of the Club of United Business – known to members as CUB.
A familiar face on the streets of Potts Point, I’ve known Daniel for several years and watched him grow CUB into the success it is today. We recently sat down and had a chat about his career, CUB, and building relationships in business.
Daniel, I know you founded and are CEO of the Club of United Business, which is headquartered just up the road in Darlinghurst, but what is your background, and what did you do before setting up CUB?
I tried a few things. I started my career in finance, before working in sales and home renovations, and I also ran a restaurant. I learnt some really valuable skills. Along the way, I’d also come up with the concept of CUB, so when the right moment presented itself I decided to focus on the club. We purchased a space on Kings Cross Road and opened in 2014.
And I hear you were just 23 when you started CUB – pretty impressive! Tell us about the Club of United Business, what made you come up with the idea?
I came from a business family. It was what I always wanted to do and I suppose my family was part of the inspiration. My dad is in business and mum is a great leader in our family. I decided to combine these two things and create a “business family”, to help business leaders navigate the sometimes difficult journey. I really wanted to serve the business owners and entrepreneurs.
Our primary job at CUB is to make friends between business owners. It’s about forging valuable relationships. It’s built on the premise that if you like someone you’ll go out of your way to help them.
How does it work and who is a typical CUB member?
When we set up I started asking our new members what they wanted, and why they were joining. They kept saying they wanted to meet other business people, so we decided to build the best networking service for entrepreneurs.
Our members usually come from high growth companies with a revenue between $2m-$50m. They’re not usually massive companies or very tiny startups. They are already successful but they may not have achieved their real ambitions and feel they have more to achieve. Our members are a variety of ages, the majority would be between 30-50 years old, but they’re youthful and forward-thinking. We take a pretty modern approach. Everyone knows each other, people are social, and we are probably a little more casual than a typical members club or networking group.
What about the clubhouses?
We have clubhouses in Darlinghurst and Melbourne – and we’re opening another one later this year. Our clubhouses are for hosting events but members can also use the space as a business lounge to work in, to entertain, escape the office, or bring their team. But the main focus is networking. Our team meets all new members and creates a networking plan, based on their goals. Three times a year members are placed in groups of 10 other members, using our network plan. They meet four times over the season with a specific purpose. So each year our members meet a minimum of 30 other accomplished entrepreneurs.
What kind of events do you run?
We’ll run over 50 events a year for our members. From social events to keynote speakers, knowledge-based events, private box events at various sports, wine tastings and other ways to connect in an enjoyable setting. It’s got to be interesting and something that members want to do, so it’s enjoyable and fun, a break from the workday and the challenges of running a business.
What are your top business or networking tips?
You have to like the people you do business with. Business owners need a business community, it’s like a friendship circle of people you can trust. CUB is an opportunity to find those valuable friends and important relationships. Not everyone matches perfectly, but you can use it to build relationships with people you like and want to be around. If you don’t like them you’re never going to maintain a relationship with them and you probably shouldn’t work with them anyway. It’s about sharing passion and vision in business. We have a no hard sales policy. Our members have to like and trust each other. It’s not about handing out business cards and being forced.
What do you love about the local area?
I used to live in Paris, then I moved here. I believe it’s inner-city living at its best. There’s a close community, so you know everyone walking down the street. There are great restaurants, parks nearby and amazing views. There are a variety of people and it’s nice to have the different demographics and age groups together. Not only do I live here, but I chose it for the club as well. Like you, Jason, I clearly have a lot of faith in Potts Point being a good long term investment!
Given you live and work here, what are your favourite restaurants or hangouts in the area?
I eat at Zinc every single day – sometimes twice a day – but I also love Fei Jai and Franca. There are so many great restaurants, bars and cafes here.
Thanks for telling me about CUB, Daniel – I’ll no doubt see you at Zinc!
You can find out more about the Club of United Business at cub.club